Mexican Soda Marinated Grilled Chicken

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This tasty grilled chicken is an adaptation from Robb Walsh’s excellent, “The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook”. It utilizes a popular border trick of marinating chicken in a brine based on Mexican sugar-sweetened soda. In the original recipe this was mandarin soda, there was a 1/2 cup of salt in the marinade, and the marinating time was 48-72 hours, with the saltiness checked by cutting off and cooking a piece.

After making this a couple of times, I reduced the salt to 1/3 cup, shortened the marinating time to 24 hours, and used a mixture of mandarin and lime soda which I could get at my local Kroger’s.  The result was a very flavorful chicken with the right level of seasoning.

I have made the chicken with and without the Red Spice Rub, in case the children thought it was too spicy.  I think the spice rub adds an extra layer of flavor, but is not really spicy, even for delicate palates.

1.5 liter Jarritos fruit flavored soda (or 3 of the 12 oz. bottles)

4 cloves garlic

1/3 cup salt

4 bay leave

2 serrano chilies, cut in half lengthwise

10 peppercorns

3 lbs. skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks

Red Spice Rub

Put the chicken in a gallon ziplock baggie. Add all the marinade ingredients, move them around to dissolve the salt, squish the air out, seal, and put in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. The photo is of a double batch.

Heat up the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade, dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with the spice rub. Grill over a medium-hot fire until done, around 20-30 minutes. Be careful with the drumsticks, which due to their cylindrical shape take longer to cook than the flatter thighs.


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